The United States under-23 national team's Olympic hopes took a giant hit today as they fell to Honduras in the semifinals of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. A very disappointing performance and result makes their road to Rio 2016 a lot more difficult.
U-23 Starting XI: Horvath; Okwuonu, Miazga, Carter-Vickers, Serna; Polster, Trapp, Hyndman, Gil; Kiesewetter, Morris #USAvHON— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 10, 2015
Honduras started the game off strong with several spells of possession in the U.S. half, but didn't manage any chances to speak of in the first ten minutes. The U.S. drew a couple of corners the didn't amount to anything either.
Matt Polster was issued the first yellow card of the game in the 12th minute for bringing down a Honduran attacker on a counter-attack.
The U.S. started enjoying more possession as the game settled down. Their first half-chance of the game would come when a streaking Jerome Kiesewetter crossed to Jordan Morris in the box, but the Stanford striker couldn't get a touch to it in front of goal.
Honduras would take the lead in the 23rd minute through Alberth Elis after he was found in the box with a cross. His first touch took him past Cameron Carter-Vickers and he finished low and hard past Ethan Horvath. It's first time the Americans have trailed in the tournament.
The Hondurans would have another golden chance to double their lead just five minutes later, but couldn't take advantage of a 1 on 1 with Horvath after a mix up at the back.
Even with the majority of possession after conceding the goal, the U.S. failed to muster much of an attack resorting to long balls that continuously failed.
They finally got their first shot on goal in the 41st minute, albeit a sharp angle shot by Kiesewetter that was saved easily.
The halftime whistle ended a frustrating half for the Americans, leaving them a ton of work to do in the final 45 minutes of play.
One change was made by Herzog as Gboly Ariyibi came on for Boyd Okwuonu to start the second half. The U.S. switched to a 4-3-3.
Ariyibi would be the recipient of the first good chance of the second half as he found himself in space at the top of the penalty area, but his shot was over the bar.
The U.S. dominated possession in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, but still failed to create any dangerous chances.
The second substitution by the Americans saw Fatai Alashe replace Emerson Hyndman in the midfield.
An equalizer almost came in the 63rd minute off of a corner kick. Carter-Vickers' header was miraculously saved by the Honduras keeper.
Alonso Hernandez entered the game in the 74th minute for Luis Gil for the last U.S. sub.
Honduras doubled their lead in the 77th minute against the run of play. A seemingly innocuous attack turned into a beautiful side-footed finish by Elis for his brace.
Both managers were sent to the locker rooms following a disagreement turning this affair into a true CONCACAF event.
It appeared as if Morris had given the U.S. a lifeline in the 83rd minute, but his tap-in goal was incorrectly ruled offside.
Tempers flared on both sides with the ref unable to control the game whatsoever. Shoving matches and petty antics were the theme of the final few minutes turning this game into yet another embarrassing CONCACAF tournament where the officials haven't a clue how to manage a game.
- Excuses will be made, but this U.S. performance as just not good enough. The talent is there, but it did not shine through when it mattered most.
- The U.S. attack was non-existent for most of the game. Repetitive long balls resulting in nothing.
- Cameron Carter-Vickers, while very talented, had a very poor individual performance.
- Gedion Zelalem remaining on the bench when the team needed a calming influence in midfield is baffling.
- It remains to be seen if this failure will affect Jurgen Klinsmann as he is the Technical Director, but it should.